On Wednesday, the professional wrestling community was saddened to learn of the death of WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson — the father of world-champion-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In the hours since his passing at the age of 75 was announced, several current and former wrestlers have taken to social media to honor the late legend and recognize his contributions to the wrestling business.
As documented by Sportskeeda, a pair of veteran WWE standouts posted detailed tweets honoring the late wrestler, including Natalya, who shared a photo of Rocky and Dwayne Johnson that appeared to have been taken in the late 1970s. Aside from tagging The Rock in her post, Natalya looked back on how the future Hollywood star’s father once competed in her grandfather Stu Hart’s Calgary-based promotion, Stampede Wrestling, years before he joined the company then known as WWF.
I am saddened to hear the news of Rocky Johnson passing away. Rocky wrestled for my grandfather Stu for many years in Stampede Wrestling. I am sending so much love to @TheRock and his entire family. ???? pic.twitter.com/d76xpu2EO7
— NattieByNature (@NatbyNature) January 16, 2020
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy made a rare out-of-character tweet that recalled the positive interactions he had with Johnson during his long pro wrestling career.
“Saddened to hear about the passing of Rocky Johnson. Rocky was always extremely friendly & kind to me every time I interacted with him over the years. My condolences & thoughts go out to his family.”
In a separate report, Ringside News shared tweets from a number of other present-day WWE superstars, including Dana Brooke, Curt Hawkins, Ember Moon, and Kalisto, who all reacted to the sad news soon after it was announced. Also posting her condolences was pioneering female WWE referee Jessika Carr, who advised her followers that they should “enjoy every second” of their lives.
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of the great Rocky Johnson. Always a gentleman, I always enjoyed talking with him. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the fans who loved him. A very sad day for wrestling.#RIPRockyJohnson pic.twitter.com/4agKbOzAry
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) January 15, 2020
Considering how Johnson teamed up with Tony Atlas in the early 1980s to become the first African American tag team champions in WWF/WWE history, backstage producer D-von Dudley — a decorated tag team wrestler in his own right — took to Twitter to recognize this part of the late Hall of Famer’s legacy.
“My prayers and deepest remorse goes out to the @TheRock and the family of @wweHOF Soul Man Rocky Johnson. He helped paved the way for so many African Americans in this business. You will be missed. R.I.P.”
In addition to Dudley, other WWE Hall of Famers such as Mick Foley, Booker T, Ted DiBiase Sr., and The Iron Sheik paid tribute to Johnson on social media on Wednesday night, as cited by both Sportskeeda and Ringside News.
As of this writing, Dwayne Johnson has yet to issue a statement on his father’s passing, though as NBC News noted, the recently retired former WWE Champion has been known to share heartfelt social media posts where he talks positively about growing up as the son of a famous professional wrestler.